The technology of perpendicular recording for hard drives (technology that vastly increases storage densities in hard drives by changing the way magnetic elements are polarized) is making it possible for 2.5-inch drives to appear with capacities up to 200GB. Whilst the laptop minded such as myself will no doubt welcome this, Hollywood is a little concerned about what this might bring. The tiny drives are, of course, used in portable consumer electronics other than laptops, devices like iPods especially. Now, imagine an iPod that has 200GB of hard disk space - now it can store something like 300 Divx encoded movies on it! Not something that Hollywood likes the sound of - they are now making moves to push for the inclusion of digital rights management (DRM) facilities in such devices, to prevent the huge spread of movie piracy
that might ensue.
"Hollywood can get really concerned. What if you can carry like 20 movies with you all the time, and they can't control the content any more?" It's the possible crossing of geographic boundaries that's the problem, Michael Cai, senior analyst with Parks Associates said - a problem that wouldn't crop up if the media device were made to sit on your desktop at home, no matter how small it becomes.
If DRM does not pose any obstacles whatsoever to the adoption of perpendicular recording, then its likely that nothing will prevent Apple and others from implementing new drives from Seagate and other manufacturers with these large capacities, leading to a new wave of high-capacity portable storage devices as soon as Christmas 2006.